Court allows search for Andy Hall
- Published: 1/04/2013 at 03:45 PM
- Online news:
The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court has allowed Natural Fruit, a fruit and juice packaging company, to check with the Immigration Bureau on the whereabouts of researcher Andy Hall, the defendant in a defamation lawsuit.
The court on Monday began hearing Natural Fruit's criminal lawsuit proceedings against Mr Hall, a migration researcher.
The organisation that commissioned Mr Hall to make a study in October-November 2012, Finnwatch, issued a statement Monday lambasting the lawsuit as an attack on freedom of expression.
Andy Hall, seen during a Thai PBS interview on "Exploitation of migrant workers".
The court said Mr Hall's former employer Mahidol University had informed the Alien Labour Management Bureau that they had ended his contract, so the lawsuit document, a procedure required in a criminal suit, did not reach the defendant.
The court agreed with the plaintiff's request for a court order asking the Immigration Bureau to check Mr Hall's entry-departure records for Thailand.
The court then adjourned proceedings until April 11.
The lawyer for natural Fruit, Somsak Torugsa, said if Mr Hall could not be located, his client might ask the court to formally advise the court in his hometown in England that he was required to appear to answer a criminal lawsuit.
Natural Fruit vice president Kachin Komneyawanich alleged that Mr Hall's reports and his communications with the public, which could be found on at least 20 websites, had damaged his company and were without truth.
The Prachuap Khiri Khan-base tinned pineappple and juice concentrate maker Natural Fruit is owned and operated by a brother of Democrat Party secretary general Chalermchai Sri-On.
The company is also demanding 300 million baht in damages in a separate civil court lawsuit in Nakhon Pathom.
The defamation accusations relate to research into labour conditions and the migrant workforce at the company, commissioned by Finnwatch, and a January press briefing on the results at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat